What would happen if our society just collapses? Europe is currently experiencing turbulence due to its internal societal conflicts – what would be the condition of this continent in a post-apocalyptic world? This question is the crux of Netflix’s Tribes of Europa which is a six episode series.
The German language TV show is produced by the same people behind the hit series Dark. The success of Dark is testament to the fact that the audiences are eager to watch television that is compelling, smart, and other worldly. Tribes of Europa is similar to Dark in that sense but its broader vision is actually a threat to Dark’s popularity.
The series opens with an explanation for context. The year is 2079 and the fractured state of Europe has led to the development of micro-states known as Tribes that have fought for decades. In the opening sequence we see a woman – Liv – standing on top of a tower-like structure.
The timeline of the show is based in 2074. Liv and her brothers are now part of an Oringe tribe – a tribe that shuns technology and lives off the main land. Oringe tribe is peaceful compared to the other tribes as they prefer to stay hidden. We first meet the siblings individually in a setting that would remind you of a post war world. Liv is committed to reunite with her brothers.
Earlier, when the tribe was still together, the siblings would go out on hunting. Elja needs to hunt down a wolf to be inducted into adulthood. But their plans are interrupted while they’re out hunting – a plane crashes but it’s not really a plane that we get to see normally.
This is the post “Black December” plane which intrigues the siblings so they visit the crash site the next day. What Elja finds is interesting: there’s no pilot but there is a cube within the wreck. He feels that the cube needs to be investigated so he goes back to his hiding location and on his way he meets the pilot who is about to die.
Anyway, he finds his way back and shares all the information with his siblings. They decide to go out and provide help to the dying pilot. Jakob, on the other hand, decides to go to the other tribe where he comes across a slaughter. The members of this tribe are barely alive and one of them informs Jakob that it was one of The Crows who did this as they were searching for the pilot.
Like we said before, The Oringes don’t like outsiders and like to stay hidden. However, the siblings bring in the pilot and try to help him and revive his life. This is when The Crows invade them and the pilot transfers the control of the cube to Elja. Jakob and Kiano are soon captured by the military and it looks like Liv is left on her own to die.
You’ll be bombarded with several questions. What really happened? Was the technology blackout that terrible? What’s up with the Crows and why can’t they lie?
The series is bound to give you a Game of Thrones vibe but in a Post-Brexit world. Every sibling is on an individual journey and the cinematic scope of the series can be complimented by making comparisons with Blade Runner and Children of Men. The visuals are spectacular, gritting and cut-throat like the Crows.
The timing of the series is so right because it shows how a society collapses after the exit of the UK from the European Union.
However, there are many underlined tempering – we see glimpses of the world today, the one impacted by the pandemic, the one that is dependent on technology now more than ever, and so on and so forth.
Currently, the world is heavily dependent on video calls, streaming and instant messaging. The idea of a world without technology is terrifying on its own – the key player in Tribes of Europa.
Look, it was incredibly interesting to see a story about three siblings as they find their way back to one another. However, the pace of the first episode takes a beating as the storyline is simply placing its dominos. The creators are working on forming a backdrop that upholds the story and pitches the apocalyptic world all guns blazing. The stakes are high and you can see the director struggling to tackle dominant theme and minor subplots.
The concept of the series is highly ambitious – to suggest that Europe would dissolve due to its internal warfare is painstakingly difficult to witness. Subconsciously, we’re all aware that the world is headed in that direction and that one misstep would lead to our ultimate doom. Hence, when we see it all unfold right before our eyes in the most savage manner, we feel uncomfortable. From the Cyberwar between US and North Korea to the Brexit controversy – we can see real-life events depicted on screen.
The series doesn’t deep-dive into the actual cause of Black December but it plainly suggests that it had something to do with technology and that it got out of control.
The most brutal truth is that it’s not executed well. We see so much potential but the final product fails to engage the audience. The series embarked on a fantastic venture as it tried to blur the lines of fantasy and reality, but after a point, the plot becomes too convoluted.
The social commentary is highly praise worthy but sometimes even the politics can’t save a mismanaged script.
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